Questionable: Are stand-up paddleboards defined as boats?
Each week, we answer questions our readers have asked. What do you really want to know? Drop us a line; maybe we can help.
I have witnessed a lot of stand-up paddleboards on the area lakes this year (2013). Are these boards defined as a boat by the DNR and are the occupants of these paddleboards required to have life jackets (PFDs) on board?
We asked Jim Jung, a conservation warden with the Department of Natural Resources, this question. He responded:
“The stand-up paddleboards are defined as a boat or vessel by Wisconsin statute. The law defines a boat as: watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water. A wearable Coast Guard approved life jacket (PFD) of the correct size must be readily accessible onboard the stand-up paddleboard/boat. Unfortunately, state and national boating statistics show an increase in boating fatalities among these small watercraft such as kayaks, canoes, paddleboats and stand-up paddleboards. Operators of these small boats are much more likely to capsize, making them susceptible to drowning and hypothermia.”